NEW YORK — Three thoughts on Mikey Garcia’s unanimous decision win over Juan Carlos Burgos and Bryant Jennings’ knockout win over Artur Szpilka at Madison Square Garden:
Posts Tagged ‘Bryant Jennings’
Heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings will return to the ring on June 14th against Andrey Fedosov as part of a tripleheader that will be televised by NBC Sports Network from the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, P.A.
Jennings (16-0) has been out of the ring since knocking out Bowie Tupou last December. Earlier this year, Jennings was strongly considered as an opponent for unified titleholder Wladimir Klitschko. HBO wanted Klitschko-Jennings to serve as the undercard for Floyd Mayweather’s return on May 4th. When Mayweather defected to Showtime, Klitschko switched to Francesco Pianeta, who is better known in Europe.
“I’m not that disappointed, well, in a way I am,” Jennings told me in an interview on NBC. “After this fight he’ll probably be tied up with mandatories and stuff like that, so that probably puts [a title shot] on hold. I’m in this game. I’m not going nowhere. I’ll just keep doing what I have to do. I’ll just have to keep taking these fights, keep winning, keep training and keep doing what I’m supposed to do and those opportunities will come.”
• I can’t say I’m surprised that former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik decided to call it quits last week, at 30. From what I have been told, the move to Oxnard, California to train with Robert Garcia had not been going as well as planned and that Pavlik often appeared disinterested during training. It’s fortunate for Pavlik that Andre Ward had to back out of a scheduled January date with a shoulder injury; that could have gotten real ugly, real fast.
Is Pavlik done? I doubt it. Boxing is littered with comebacks, and Pavlik is young enough that he can take a couple of years off. I just hope Pavlik can keep the demons that have chased him the last few years in check. I wrote the first story on Pavlik following his second stint in rehab and I remember his defiance towards accepting that he had a drinking problem. It’s going to be a battle for him to keep his life in order now that he is retired. I hope that, like so many of his battles in the ring, he wins it.
• I’m told Gabriel Rosado, who absorbed a pretty good beating from Gennady Golovkin last weekend, is recovering well and expects to return sometime this summer. Rosado plans to drop back down to 154-pounds, where he will still be a top contender. I know Rosado has his eyes on Saul Alvarez, but a good fight for him would be a rematch with Alfredo Angulo, who knocked Rosado out in the second round in 2009.
• Speaking of Golovkin, promoter Tom Loeffler told me the plan going forward was to have Golovkin fight in March, somewhere in Europe, before returning to the U.S. in June for a bigger HBO fight. If IBF titleholder Daniel Geale wins his rematch with Anthony Mundine later this month, a unification fight with Golovkin would make for a good matchup.
• Timothy Bradley — who has made some of the worst business decisions in recent memory — is reportedly closing in on a fight with Yuri Gamboa. I like it. It’s a very winnable fight for Bradley and would give him a big bounce towards a bigger fight later in the year.
• Checked in with Sergio Martinez’s advisor, Sampson Lewkowicz, last weekend, who told me Martinez is doing well in his recovery from knee surgery. According to Lewkowicz, Martinez is doing strictly upper body workouts right now but will begin full training in late February and will be ready to fight in April.
• Top Rank announced the signing of Chinese amateur superstar Zou Shiming, a three-time world champion and two-time gold medalist in the junior flyweight division. Zou, 31, will make his pro debut in Macau in April.
• If you missed Sergey Kovalev’s one-sided beating of former light heavyweight titleholder Gabriel Campillo, find the replay on NBC Sports Network. In his stiffest test to date, Kovalev walked right through Campillo, a slick, talented boxer who had been knocked out just once before. Kovalev is more than just raw power: He’s a smart boxer who under the tutelage of John David Jackson has developed a complete game. He goes to the head, to the body and when he smells blood has a tremendous killer instinct. Main Events would like to bring him back sometime in June, preferably on HBO. If Tavoris Cloud can get past Bernard Hopkins in March, a Cloud-Kovalev showdown would be explosive.
• I like Bryant Jennings — he was SI.com’s 2012 Prospect of the Year. But fighting Wladimir Klitschko right now is a bad, bad idea. Jennings made great strides in 2012 but he is nowhere near ready for that kind of fight. At this point in his career, a knockout loss to Klitschko might be something he doesn’t recover from.
• Still no decisions have been made on the futures of the Klitschko brothers, per manager Bernd Boente, though I still expect both to be back in the ring sometime this spring.
• So Jorge Arce wants another fight. Boxers really need to stop using the word ‘retirement.’
• Another week, another disgraceful judging performance, this time by Tony Paolillo, who inexplicably scored the Roman Martinez-Juan Carlos Burgos fight for Martinez, 116-112. I’ve watched that fight three times and there is no way you can give Martinez that many rounds. The official punch stats gave Burgos a 286-193 advantage, including 234-164 in power shots.
Unsurprisingly, Burgos’ promoters demanded a rematch.
“Juan Carlos won that fight hands down and this week we will file for an immediate rematch”, said Artie Pelullo, CEO of Banner Promotions. “The kid worked hard and should be a world champion this morning. We just hope the WBO agrees with what the whole world saw and does the right thing by granting us this rematch.”
Some quick jabs …
• I have to admit, I was bitterly disappointed when Golden Boy, on behalf of undefeated heavyweight and former Olympic bronze medalist Deontay Wilder, turned down an offer to fight rising heavyweight prospect Bryant Jennings last week. In case you missed it, Wilder and Jennings have been in a Twitter beef, during which Wilder called Jennings out. Jennings’ promoter, Main Events, responded by offering Wilder the slot opposite Jennings on its next NBC Sports Network show on Dec. 8. Yet Wilder’s team quickly shot it down, saying the money (likely around $25,000, though there was room for negotiation) wasn’t enough for that kind of fight.
Now, I understand that a year from now, Wilder-Jennings could be a pretty big fight. But that’s only if both continue their respective ascents. The fact is, neither Wilder or Jennings has fought anyone notable and there is a strong possibility one or both will get beating which would take much of the shine off of a matchup (see: the vaporized Juan Manuel Lopez-Yuri Gamboa megafight). The winner of a showdown in December would take a big step in the heavyweight division, probably vaulting himself up in the rankings and certainly becoming more attractive to the higher-paying premium networks. Unfortunately, Wilder, who frankly has accomplished nothing in his four-year professional career, sees it a little different.
• Here’s why Wladimir Klitschko may never fight in the U.S. again: More than 16,000 tickets have already been sold for Klitschko’s title defense against Marisuz Wach in November in Hamburg, Germany.
• Speaking of hot tickets, Top Rank reports that 13,000 seats have already been sold for Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV in December. It seems despite the lukewarm response the fight received from pundits, there is still a strong interest from fans to see these two future Hall of Famers in the ring.
• Looks like Gennady Golovkin will return to the ring on Dec. 8, when he will defend his WBA middleweight title somewhere in Europe. Golovkin hoped to land an HBO date, but the network is booked solid in December and Golovkin is determined to fight before the end of the year. Main Events lobbied Golovkin hard to fight on either its Dec. 8 or Dec. 22 shows. However Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, believes he can get a better deal fighting in Europe.
• There is some debate over when Wladimir Klitschko owes a mandatory defense of his WBA title. Sauerland Event, which represents WBA “regular” titleholder Alexander Povetkin, claims Klitschko must face Povetkin by the end of February. Klitschko’s manager, Bernd Boente, says the fight isn’t due until next July. My opinion: Who cares? Klitschko has chased Povetkin for years and, after Wach, doesn’t have any viable opponents on the horizon. Cut a deal — March sounds pretty good — and make the fight.
• Sign me up for more Kubrat Pulev. Pulev’s 11th-round knockout of 6-foot-7 Alexander Ustinov on Epix last weekend — which followed a knockout of 6-foot-7 heavyweight prospect Alexander Dimitrenko before that — has established the Bulgarian as a legitimate heavyweight contender. Pulev will likely face the winner of Tomasz Adamek-Odlanier Solis in December, with a win positioning him as the IBF’s No. 1 contender for Wladimir Klitschko’s title.
• Let me join the chorus of those who think Don King’s $1.1 million purse bid for Chris Arreola-Bermane Stiverne is nuts. Neither Arreola or Stiverne has done much of anything lately, certainly not enough to warrant that type of payday. There is a good chance Arreola-Stiverne on HBO or Showtime but there is no way King is going to get his money back in the license fee. It’s simply not that significant a fight.
– Chris Mannix
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Three thoughts from three strong fights Saturday night …
Zab Judah is back. In the aftermath of Judah’s uncompetitive fifth-round knockout loss to Amir Khan last summer, many believed his days as a big-fight headliner were over. But the resilient Judah bounced back, stopping undefeated prospect Vernon Paris with a blurring flurry in the ninth round. It was a dominant win by Judah, who was first with the jab, first with combinations and confused Paris with angles all night. Before the fight Paris claimed he was going to put pressure on Judah, but it was Judah who was coming forward throughout the fight.
With the win, Judah becomes the mandatory challenger for the winner of the May fight between Khan and Lamont Peterson. A rematch with Khan is unlikely — even if Khan wins, he’s eyeing a move up to 147-pounds — but there are plenty of options for Judah (42-7) to choose from. The junior welterweight division is flush with talent, including Peterson, Marcos Maidana and Danny Garcia as well as Juan Manuel Marquez and Brandon Rios. Judah’s performance and his popularity — the overnight numbers on NBC Sports Network were up 12 percent from the first show in January despite competing with an HBO show on the same night — will make him a marketable opponent.
Paris (26-1) is at something of a crossroads. At 24, Paris is young enough to bounce back. But he doesn’t seem to take his training seriously. He admitted he didn’t train a day for his 2010 fight with Ramon Guevara and was four pounds overweight on the day before the weigh-in. Paris is talented, but he needs to sharpen his focus if he hopes to advance his career.